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English Pronunciation News: Adult Adoptions

Watch the video and read the news for 6/10/2011. This news report focuses on "a," "an" and "the." Learn the news and study American English grammar and pronunciation. Read other English pronunciation news reports.

Study the News


Most people do not even think about adult adoptions; however, adult adoptions are becoming more popular. A child who was raised in a foster home sometimes chooses to go through the adult adoption process after turning eighteen. An adult adoption gives the adopted person a sense of belonging in a family. An adult may also choose to avoid abusive parents and create a new life with a healthy family.

Study A, An and The

Use "a" and "an" for unknown or not particular nouns. Use "the" for known or plural nouns.

* Some grammar uses are cultural. For you, "a sense" may not seem conditional. Rather than trying to memorize cultural preference rules like this, here is a tip: think of a phrase you might say and try to say it at some point once a day for 7 days. After that, you will know it.

Pronunciation of A, An and The

Most American children are not taught the pronunciation rules for these small words, i.e. when to pronounce "a" and when to say "uh" or the difference in "thee" or "thuh." British speakers are taught these rules. You will notice that professional American speakers, like news reporters, may use them--but most people switch from one sound to the other without thinking about it.

If you learned the pronunciation rules as a young person, that's great--you can use them. If not, I recommend speaking "uh" for "a" and "thuh" for "the." These sound more natural and informal. Because most American schools do not teach the pronunciation rules, people tend to associate "a" and "thee" pronunciation with formality--and Americans usually prefer to sound informal, even in business.

Do speak these small words quickly and lightly, as if they are part of the words that follow them. This will help you to sound natural.

Get more practice:

Pronouncing A, An, The

Practice all A, An, The Grammar Rules

Intonation: the Small Words

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